Friday, September 19, 2008

Can You Spell N-A-N-N-Y?

A couple of weeks ago, I felt it prudent to check in with my boss about my coming back to work. You know, because it's the professional thing to do and all. Before I went on maternity leave, I was clear that I would not be interested in coming back full time, but I did leave the door open for some part time or consulting work. So I gave her a ring and we chatted about it. Long story short, I told her that I wanted something part time, from home, and she said that "we should be able to work something out."

The minute I hung up with her, I immediately felt a dread in the pit of my stomach. What the hell did I just do? I'm all kinds of conflicted about my work situation as a whole, but I'll save that for another post. I figured that if going back to work was even a remote possibility, I'd better start taking a look at some nanny prospects. I'm aware that there are nanny placement agencies. I'm also aware that they charge fees that are too steep for our budget, so I headed for the nanny websites and did a cursory search just to see what was out there.

Holy hell, this is going to be a toughie.

I'm only going to need a nanny part time. That's already going to make one more difficult to find, I'm aware. Apparently, some of my other requirements might make it difficult as well...

If you cannot spell, you cannot be my child's nanny. The fact that you cannot spell to be begin with just irks me to no end (shame on the public school system for allowing that), but the fact that you cannot even use spell check to check your lousy spelling just indicates a lack of motivation, or even just pure laziness. It's a button, people. If you can't spell on your own, at least push the damn button.

If you cannot use proper grammar and/or punctuation, you cannot be my child's nanny. Reading your endless run on sentences is about as much fun as a pap smear, and double negatives have no place in Ava's vocabulary.

If you type in ALL CAPS FOR YOUR ENTIRE POSTING, you cannot be my child's nanny. There's no need to yell.

If you need sponsorship, you cannot be my child's nanny. I used to handle visa issues at work; I sure as hell don't want to handle them at home as well.

If you have your MySpace photo on your nanny profile, you know, the one where you are posing seductively for your webcam, or showing me your hot pink tongue stud, you cannot be my child's nanny.

If you don't have transportation to my house, you cannot be my child's nanny. We don't exactly have a stellar public transport system here in the Houston suburbs, and having to load up my kiddo to drive you to and from my home kind of negates the convenience of working from home and having a nanny, don't you think?

I think it's great that you are a stay at home mom looking to make some extra money. Very admirable. However, I'm not running a day care, so no, you cannot bring your own child to your nanny gig at my house. I am amazed at the number of these kinds of postings. If my furniture gets scuffed, or my walls get marked on, it should be my kid doing it, not yours. Besides, can you really tell me that your kid won't get more attention than mine? I would love to help you out, but I just can't see paying you to hang out with your kid at my house.

Yeah, so finding a nanny isn't going to be easy. I keep thinking that perhaps I'm being too picky, but really, I can't see being okay with any of the scenarios above.

This might be a loooong search.

Update on Ava's sleeping habits: I decided to focus on night sleep for now, and we will tackle naps later. She had a few rough nights getting used to not being swaddled at night, but she is sleeping much better now. We moved her bedtime up to between 7:30 or 8:00, and we have a nice little bedtime routine. Pretty soon, we'll tackle the daytime nap situation again. Not looking forward to that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Don't Like Ike

I had a lovely post about the trials and tribulations of finding a nanny (first requirement being no MySpace tongue ring photo on your nanny profile if you want any chance of being my child's nanny), but then Hurricane Ike came in and bitch slapped Houston, so I'll write about that instead.

We don't live in Galveston, or even the south part of Houston, so I know that things could be a lot worse, and my heart breaks for the people who lost everything in the storm. Our neighborhood had a lot of downed trees, which in our little part of the neighborhood isn't too bad, seeing as they leveled all the native 60-70 foot pine trees in our development before they started building. I guess there is a positive side of living on "the moon", as we put it. We lost our gate and our new landscaping is kind of shot to hell, but we consider ourselves very lucky. In other parts of our subdivision, the 60 foot majestic pines were snapped like twigs, or simply uprooted. They were on houses, IN houses, in pools, across roads, on power lines and through fences. House after house had a tree on or in the roof. Although we had monstrous amounts of rain, there were no real flooding issues in our neck of the woods, except the ones attributed to the shitty drainage in the neighborhood next to us. So all in all, we were really lucky. Down in Houston and Galveston, they weren't so lucky.

I could go on and on about the craptastic job I feel the mayor of Galveston did with calling the evacuation, but what's the point? I could also bitch about the people who made ridiculously stupid choices and required rescue, tying up resources that could have been used to help people that really needed it, but I won't. It will just piss me off.

For the people still in Houston and the surrounding areas, at this point, most everyone has no power. No power = no pumps at gas stations. The few gas stations that are open have lines that snake down the street and around the block. People are getting squirrely. Even if you CAN get gas, in areas of town that don't have debris-covered streets, there are no traffic signals, which make driving anywhere (even if you could find gas) a scary proposition. Add to that all the issues in our area of town concerning food, ice, supplies, heat, mosquitoes, and we decided enough was enough. We came to Austin last night when we learned that most of our county will be without power for two to four weeks.

I realize that I am whining about things that are really inconsequential in comparison to the devastation that Galveston and other coastal communities are dealing with. I may be bitching, because that's what I do best, but I realize just how incredibly lucky we are.

To find out how you can help, visit Texas Responds or Network for Good.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sleep Training is Not for the Weak

When Ava was a newborn, she had no problems sleeping. She slept great at night. She napped well during the day, anywhere, and through anything. Then, somewhere around eight weeks, the naps dwindled, and then several weeks later, she went from sleeping 12 hours a night to sleeping 9 or 10. You see the pattern here: less sleep = grumpy baby.

Fast forward to today. Ava is 15 weeks old, and daytime naps are still few and far between. She may take two or three a day, if she happens to feel like it, but they never last more than 30 minutes. Never. 30 minutes to the minute. She is still only sleeping ten hours at night. This is having an effect on her disposition, and it's one that is causing me to run for the wine bottle.

So we decided to try sleep training. I have a book, a stupid, useless, talk in circles book that has been of little to no help to me, in the sense that none of the ideas presented in it are working. I'm afraid we've created a monster by letting her nap in her bouncy chair so much, but the vibrations were the only thing that would calm her down at times. Because of that, she rarely will take naps in her crib. We just finished up 30 minutes of crying in her crib and now she is continuing the fit in my lap and in the bouncy chair. I have no idea what to do. It's like I am being punished for trying to do the right thing for her. Try to help her learn to sleep, and it results in such massive fits at times that I'm afraid she is going to make herself throw up. She fussed constantly last night, to the point where I wheeled her travel crib (where she still sleeps at night) into the front bedroom with me, so M could get some sleep, because I sure as hell wasn't getting any. Miracle of miracles,she actually took a small nap in her crib this morning, so silly me, I tried to put her down for her second nap in the crib and I am now being rewarded with a fit that has now lasted 45 minutes and counting.

As we've been trying the sleep training, we've also decided to unswaddle. In fact, the unswaddling really came first, and necessitated the need for the sleep training. She's days away from rolling over, and once she is rolling over, I don't want to swaddle her. Well, the unswaddling thing has fucked her world up. She has an even harder time now. This sucks. I feel like maybe we aren't doing something right, or that we made a mistake in swaddling her for so long, or rocking her to sleep, or having her in our room, or any of the other things that we've been doing. It's so obvious that she is tired and not getting nearly enough sleep, but I'm not sure what else we should be doing. I just feel so bad for her, and for us. But shit, what are we supposed to do? They don't make swaddle blankets cool enough for the college set. So I figure at some point, she has to settle into a groove with the no swaddle thing, I just wonder how very tired we are all going to be before that finally happens.

She just now went to sleep. In that stupid vibrating bouncy chair that I am a slave to. I caved.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Scared, Hold Me

We have slowly made our way through the piles of boxes in our house, and I'm proud to say that we have NO MORE boxes to go through. Wait, no, that's wrong. We still have the Christmas boxes in the garage. Blast it!

Still, it's been no small feat, especially since Ava has been a little grumpy lately. She's decided that she is just peachy keen as long as someone is holding her. Oh, and naps? What naps? She won't sleep for longer than 30 minutes unless someone is holding her. So all that's made it a little difficult to do much around the house during the day.

Triad #1 and my mom came down this weekend and helped out so, so much. We've been using the dining room as a catch all room for all the crap that we have no idea what to do with, so between all of us, we tackled that this weekend, and we also saw carpet in some rooms for the first time.

Now that most of the boxes are emptied, and things are slowly finding a home, here comes the scary part. New Home Decorating. We've decided that our decor needs an overhaul and so M has told me to basically go for it.

This is the part where I look like a deer in headlights.

Most women would be ecstatic that their husband has basically given them carte blanche. I guess I'm not most women. Don't get me wrong - I'm giddy that we will be redecorating. I just don't want to be the one to do it. I didn't get that gene. At all. I can tell you what I like and what I don't like, but I can't start from scratch and create a room. Hell, it took me 20 minutes to decide how I wanted to hang a wall hanging in Ava's room. Seriously, I beat that horse until it was dead, and then some. I'm not cut out for decorating an entire house. I'm tempted to hire an interior decorator, but that seems so silly and excessive. I mean, it's not like we have a mansion to decorate or anything. Plus, I guess I feel like I SHOULD be able to do this myself, what with having a vagina and all. My husband, he really lucked out in the wife department - I can't decorate and I don't cook. It's a good thing it's not 1957.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


If I think that some of the shoes in the Jessica Simpson line are kind of cute, what does that say about me?

Ava and I were at the mall yesterday, and I stopped to admire a pair of fun red peep toe pumps. Maybe they were a little trampy, but they were still ever so cute.

This is of great concern.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just Follow the Sound of My Voice

...because I'm buried in packing paper. Our sea shipment was delivered last Monday. By 3pm on Tuesday, we were drowning in a sea of boxes and a ridiculous amount of furniture. 3 trucks. 5 containers. 240 boxes. I started feeling a little short of breath. Oh, but wait, the fun wasn't over yet.

On Wednesday, our long term storage arrived. Adding 137 boxes to our movefest. We just stacked it all in the garage, because we figured that most of that stuff was not going to live in our house for very long. When two semi-packrats get married and combine households, you are bound to end up with a plethora of crap. Likewise when you move overseas. So, combine those two situations and you end up with a house that looks like ours. It's bad. Very, very bad. I keep reminding myself that at least we are not in the same boat as some friends of ours who recently moved back to the US after ten years overseas - they have to throw most of their long term storage away because of rat infestation. They learned this AFTER the boxes were delivered to their house. Rat traps had to be set. could always be worse.

So we spent all week just trying to chip away at the mountain of unnecessary crap that we have accumulated over the last 15 years or so. We are slightly disgusted with ourselves at the amount of junk we have accumulated. It's gluttonous. We made a really good dent on Saturday by going through EVERY box in the garage, also known as the "Why the hell did we keep this?" game. A plastic punch ladle, a pillow from Triad #1's childhood bedroom, a wooden fish. Why? Two donation trips and two dump trips and we were able to see part of our garage floor again.

Inside is still pretty much a total mess. Furniture everywhere. Paper and boxes are strewn about. We are trying to take it room by room but I'm going to bust a blood vessel if things don't get straight soon. Unpacking these boxes creates even more of a mess because of the insane amount of packing materials they use. A huge box and a giant pile of packing paper in the floor and for what? Three coffee mugs. And then there are what our friend affectionately refers to crapwads. When movers pack up your stuff, they pack up whatever is laying around. Trash, passports, pen lids, change, if it's not nailed down or a weapon of some sort, it gets packed up. So you come across some nondescript wad, and after unwrapping the approximate 87 layers of paper, you discover it's a tiny plastic gold ball. Or a container of pencil lead. Or four paper clips. It's a fun game.




Send help.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving Day


After moving halfway around the world, a false start with the first house we were going to build, changing subdivisions, having a baby, building delays, a generous helping of stress and frustrations, four months of corporate housing, two weeks staying in Austin, and five nights in a hotel, the movers are coming today. To-day.

I'm so happy I could cry.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Because It's Friday

This is the funniest shit I've seen in a long time.

Cake Wrecks

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Shopping

Okay, I have a few things to get off my chest...

How come no one makes a good nursing bra that you can try on IN A STORE? I know that there are a couple of good bras online, but seriously, who has time to order multiple sizes of a bra and then traipse back to the post office and return all the ones that didn't fit? I'm too busy washing out onesies that have become victims of the latest Ava blowout. I don't have time for the post office. Hell, some days, I don't even have time for breakfast.

Maybe I'm just too picky, but I don't really like any of the nursing bras I have. I won't wear underwire, and they need to be beige, and they need to be lightly lined, because I frickin hate breast pads. That doesn't sound hard to find, does it? OH BUT IT IS. Most nursing bras are white and lacy (two things that I'm not fond of in a bra, nursing or otherwise) and unlined. I did find some at Motherhood Maternity, but I'm not convinced they fit well. First of all, it's a D cup. Anyone who knows me in real life knows how laughable that is. And, although it's a D cup, my left boob still keeps falling out of it. Just the left, because, you know, Ava's developed a preference and so I am now distinctively lopsided. But then I try on C cups from other makers, and they are all poochy in the, uh, nipular area. Hence the "lightly lined" part of my requirement. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Another thing...I'm really glad that I am breastfeeding Ava and all, but it's kind of interfering with the tops I can wear. I'm not a fan of the "lift up the shirt" method of nursing, and tops that unbutton = tops that need to be ironed, so I mostly look for tops that have a bit of stretch and criss cross over my boobs. This really limits the kind of shirts that I can buy when I am shopping. I constantly see adorable tops when I am out shopping, but they hardly ever pass the nursing test. And forget the so-called "nursing tops" that some stores carry. Most of them have the double layer thing with the side slits for easy boob access. First of all, you can always see the side slits under the top layer of those tops, which just screams "I'm nursing. Wait for me to leak!" and second of all, double layers in 100 degree Texas heat? I'm not a total masochist.

While I was in Austin staying with Triad #1, we went shopping. We went into the Ann Taylor outlet, which is always big fun. And it still was, except that it was a little depressing because they have the greatest work attire out right now. And I have no need to buy any of it. Entire sections of the store were just pointless for me to even browse through. I can't justify buying gorgeous new work clothes when, even if I do go back to work, it will probably be from home. For some reason, that bummed me out. Hopefully, it's just because the opportunity to buy gorgeous new work clothes was lost, not because there's some deeper meaning there. The same thing happened in Macy's. They had the sassiest shoes ever, shoes that I will not have a need for unless peep toe pumps become the must have fall shoe at Gymboree. They had amazing work dresses in Macy's as well, so for grins I tried one on. It zipped up fine until we got to my MASSIVE ribcage. I've always been broad shouldered with a wide ribcage, and pregnancy has made it expand to a 40 band size. That's not that big unless you see my freakishly small wrists. My body doesn't even make sense anymore. So I made myself feel better by buying huge amounts of sale clothes for Ava to put away for next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Becoming Crunchy

Staying in Austin has been great. We would live here if only there was ANY oil and gas industry to speak of. But, since there isn't, we will probably have to live in Houston indefinitely. Ack.

Austin must be rubbing off on me. I have suspected that there was a hippy, crunchy baby momma in me trying to get out, and staying in Austin has just facilitated the inevitable. For example...

...I breastfeed in public. Granted, I use a blanket, but that's still a big deal for me. Truth be told, I really only use the blanket so that others are not uncomfortable, not for me. I really could care less. Once Ava is latched on, it's not like you can really see anything anyway. I wonder if that's a bad thing, that my boobs have become totally nonsexual for me? I know that for some people breastfeeding in public isn't a big deal, but for me, it is. This week I've breastfed at the Alamo Drafthouse, in my car countless times, and at a restaurant. I have to say, I'm proud of myself. I've found that my attitude is "This is my right, so just try to stop me." I never thought I'd really even have an opinion about breastfeeding in public, much less actually do it.

...I desperately want to wear Ava. Sadly, I'm just not sure if it's going to be possible. Before she was born, I bought a Peanut Shell and a Baby Bjorn. Every time I put her in the Peanut Shell, she screams her head off. She's quite dramatic about the whole thing. Same thing with the Bjorn. Okay, so already, that's $140 down the drain. Ugh. So, we headed down to Austin Baby this weekend to look for a Moby Wrap. I've heard raves about it, so I thought that before I buy it, we'd try it out first. No need to make the same mistake a THIRD time. We popped her in it in the store, and she loved it. Thought it was great. So I pull out my wallet and plunk down the $40. We get home and try it. She cries. So I tried another hold yesterday. She loved it and fell asleep in it within 60 seconds. Oh, this is great, I thought. Finally, we've found something that she likes, so I can wear her and still get things done around the house. So, this morning, I put her in it again. She cried. Sigh...Shit. There's an Austin Babywearing Society that would probably be really helpful, except that we don't live in Austin, MUCH TO MY DISDAIN. Can you tell that I really want to move to Austin?

...I am considering cloth diapers. I had no idea the progress that has been made with cloth diapers. At Austin Baby, they had BumGenius, FuzziBunz, all those. They are adorable and look so comfy. I have to admit though, that my motivation really has nothing to do with not contributing 70 disposable diapers a week to landfills. That's a nice benefit and all, but my main motivation is money. Think of all the money we would save! I'll have to really consider this though. My daughter has truly explosive diapers. I know all parents say that, but seriously - when there is more poop on the onesie than in the diaper, you start to wonder. Combine that with a husband that gags and wretches over poop diapers, and it's not pretty. We are going to have to get M a barf can to put by the changing table. Once she starts on solid food, it's all over. There will be guaranteed vomit. Everyone has something that makes them sick. For M, that Thing is Poop.

...I would buy a co-sleeper if they weren't $80. I am not keen on having her in the actual bed with us, it makes me too nervous, but I would love to have one of those co-sleepers that attaches to the side of our bed. We have a travel crib that we use instead. I'm glad we bought a travel crib instead of a bassinet. We get far more use out of the travel crib, plus, she can stay in it so much longer. I am in no hurry to move her out of our room, and I will probably need to be sedated when we finally do it. If I have my way, that won't be for quite a while. I don't think M is in that same camp, however. I'll have to work on that.

As relatively granola as I think I'm becoming, I do draw the line somewhere. I'm only planning on breastfeeding until Ava is a year old, max. When she's old enough to walk up to me and ask for the boob, then it's time to consider the benefits of homemade baby food.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Baby Day

Yesterday, Ava and I went to the movies. There is an Alamo Drafthouse near my sister's house, and since we are staying with her while we are homeless, it was a quick trip down the road to enjoy an adult outing.

I love Alamo Drafthouse. The concept is great, and even better, the first matinee on Tuesdays is designated for babies and their parents. Since we just got Ava's shots last week, we are just now beginning to take her into (possibly) crowded places, like malls, restaurants, and now, movie theaters. She's a bit unpredictable in public, which is why I am so loving the Baby Day idea.

I saw Stepbrothers. Eh. Disappointing. Regardless, it was really nice to get out of the house. When I first stepped into the theater, I was the only one with a baby, and I was worried about how noisy we might be. I mean, I know it's Baby Day and all, but I didn't want to have the ONLY baby in there. Luckily, another woman brought her baby in, and he was noisier than Ava, so that was a relief. Ava did really well. She got a little fussy, but I just popped her on a boob, and that took care of it. I didn't realize until she was done nursing, however, that at some point she spit up while she was nursing and the entire right side of my shirt was cold and wet. So I just sat there and hoped that while the air conditioning was making little boob juice icicles on my shirt, that maybe it was drying it a bit. She slept for the rest of the movie, and I was proud of us for going on our little adventure.

I'm going again next week. All of the Baby Days in Houston are far away from where we live, so I want to enjoy it as much as I can while we are in Austin. I really want to see Pineapple Express. Would it be wrong to take a 2 month old to a movie where they are stoned the entire time?

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's Official

Yaaay! We are out of Evil Corporate Housing and officially homeless! Of course, we picked THE hottest day of the year in Houston to do it, but at least we are out. We seriously underestimated the amount of stuff we would have to move, so we felt pretty bad for our friend who came to help us out. "Oh yeah, we have the nursery furniture and probably 10 or 15 boxes. We should be done in a couple of hours, max." Uh, make that 40 or 50 boxes. Considering that our original air shipment consisted of 19 boxes, it appears that I've done just a wee bit of shopping since we got back to Texas. We finished up with the main bulk of the moving in about five hours, but then, of course, there were all the other little errands that we needed to take care of before officially becoming homeless. Dropping off donations, dry cleaning, etc. etc.

Even though we despised that apartment, we did get a little sentimental when we were leaving. It was Ava's first house. Okay, apartment, but you get what I mean. Luckily, Ava started throwing a fit because the carrier she was in WAS NOT MOVING, and thus, the moment was kind of lost.

So, Ava and I are staying with Triad #1 for a couple of weeks until our house is ready. Our closing is scheduled for the 13th, but I think that's pretty optimistic. I hope it's ready by then, though, because we are so ready to stop living out of a suitcase.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Frat Masseur

I had a massage yesterday. Considering the fact that the last massage I had may have very well put me into labor, this one was a lot less eventful.

My masseur was a dude. And by dude, I don't mean man. I mean, Texan accented, goateed, 22 year old, can just picture him with a backwards baseball cap shotgunning beers while playing X Box in his frat house dude. Frat Masseur.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great massage. Fantastic in fact. Probably the best massage I've had since I visited this place. But I've always gotten massages by women. Not by choice, it's just worked out that way. I've decided, though, that there's something about a masseur that just tops a masseuse, technique-wise. Hmm. Maybe thumb strength.

But while I've decided that I think men might give better massages, I have to say that it was a bit weird yesterday. I never thought I would give a crap who massaged me, as long as they kept it going and didn't try to make chit chat with me or pop my toes. I hate the toe popping thing. It must have been the traumatic toe popping I endured from a babysitter when I was little. Seriously, who pops a kid's toes and thinks it's funny? But I digress. I don't think it was simply because he was a guy. I've had masseurs before, but they were clearly not interested in anything I might have to show them, if you get my drift. So maybe that's it. Or maybe because he was so young, so...DUDE LIKE. Or a combination of all of those things. I don't know, it was kind of a weird vibe though.

He was completely professional, don't get me wrong, and I'm clearly not interested in or attracted to Frat Masseur. I'm just saying, I've never worried that my pedicure wasn't up to snuff when I've had a woman give me a massage. So I wonder now, should I go back to him? I hate to give up a really great massage because of my bizarre hetero hang up. But then, part of a massage is so you can totally relax, and what if I can't totally relax because I'm wondering if I remembered to shave my legs? Hmm. Maybe I'll give him one more try. Hopefully he will either 1) age 20 years between now and then or 2) start talking about his life partner during my next session. Either way is fine with me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It Had to Happen Sometime

When someone's child is throwing a fit in on an airplane/in a restaurant/in a store/etc., I've never been one of those people who throws them dirty looks and wonders why they can't make their kid be quiet. I usually just feel sorry for them. I was naive enough to think that maybe that would buy me just a little good karma. Just a little tiny bit of luck.


I had a doctor's appointment the other day and, of course, I had to take Ava with me. I tried to get a morning appointment, but all they had were afternoon spots available, so I went ahead and just accepted one of those...even though I knew I was tempting fate. Afternoons are unpredictable around here. Five minutes after we arrived, I saw the writing on the wall. She started squirming in her stroller, and I knew what was coming. My daughter proceeded to throw a huge fit in the middle of the very crowded, CONCRETE waiting room. It's a very nice stained concrete sort of room, but still...the acoustics made every cry ECHO.

I tried everything. We walked. We bounced. We tried the binky. No go. I set her down in her stroller to check her diaper - that really pissed her off. I couldn't check it very well since she stiffens up like a board when she is in the midst of a major fit, but it looked clean. I was even going to try nursing her, but about that time, some guy came over and sat down right in my section. I'm normally not one for whipping out a boob in public (okay, except for that ONE time), but I was getting desperate. The entire waiting room was staring at us. Seriously, I had no idea how totally inadequate I would feel. I felt like all these women were thinking "Why hasn't she tried ____?" That's what I would do. She must be new at this mom thing." I think though, that their pity made me more self conscious than any anger or irritation that may have been coming from them. It felt condescending, like "Poor thing, she doesn't have a clue what she is doing!"

I finally went out in the hallway and paced the floor with her there. More screaming ensued. After about twenty minutes, I finally got her to take her binky and lay in the stroller. I pushed her up and down the hall until they called me back into the exam room. She eventually calmed down and dozed for the rest of the appointment.

But the worst part? After we got home, I picked up my sleepy girl and went to change her diaper. She had a dirty diaper, and it had obviously been dirty for a bit because it was sort of dried/stuck to her hiney. So...I felt like a terrible mommy. It's not the end of the world that she had dirty pants for a bit, but I felt awful that she was obviously trying to tell me that during her 30 minute screamfest, and I didn't look close enough when I checked her in the waiting room. The truth is, she was screaming so loud, and she was so stiff, that I just took a quick peek so as to shorten the duration of the blood curdling screams that she emits when you set her down mid-fit. So she was upset because I wanted to avoid further embarrassment, basically.

So there's my confession for the day. I promised her that I would do better next time, but I still feel like a total novice.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Corporate housing blows. We've been in corporate housing since March and it's making me nuts not to have any of our things. The fact that our household goods arrived in Houston in record time (Kuala Lumpur to Houston in 5 weeks) and have been sitting in a storage facility for over two months just adds to the frustration. Plus, the apartment complex we are living in just has tacky people living in it. I mean, when I see a three year old in a Hooters T shirt kicking the Schlitz Malt Liquor TALL BOY can on her way into her apartment, it makes me call M and tell him that we have GOT to get out of this place, and soon.

While it's nice to not be homeless yet (which we would be since we have tenants in our house), our days are numbered in this hellhole, I mean, lovely corporate apartment. As of July 31, we are officically homeless. We're lucky that we were able to swing corporate housing for this long. Up until today, our company has covered the cost, but starting today, we are footing the bill. The $111 a day bill. Seriously. It's criminal that they charge that much, but what can you do? Our new house won't be ready until mid August, so that means that we'll have a couple of weeks of homelessness until we can move in.

We've had several friends offer to let us stay with them until our house is ready, but I am loathe to foist a newborn and her unpredicable moods onto them. So what will probably happen is that M will stay with friends here and Ava and I will go stay with Triad #1 in Austin. (Um, I should probably let her know about this.) It sucks that we will have to be apart for that long, but M will come up for the weekend. Plus, at least I won't have to worry about tripping over Schlitz cans in her driveway.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Just an update on GruntWatch seems that the other night was just a one night reprieve, as Miss Ava is back to her grunty ways. Oh well, at least it's not as bad as it used to be.

Triad #2 is going to bring her fan when she comes to visit next week, so we can experiment and see if her fan truly does have magical powers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recreating the Magic

We have a grunter. A loud, can't figure out why she does it all night long grunter. And did I mention loud?

Ever since we brought Ava home from the hospital, she has grunted throughout the night. She grunts in her sleep. It's not the kind of grunting that is particularly concerning, like she's having a hard time breathing or anything, it's simply LOUD. Throw in a few squeaks, squicks, and acks, and it makes for a rather poor night's sleep for us.

We have tried everything to figure out why she does it. Is it because she is swaddled too tight? Too loose? Does she want out of her swaddle? Does she want a different swaddle blanket? Is it a symptom of her reflux? Is it gas? Is she too cold? Too hot? Is she pooping? Am I a little OCD about this? So many questions...

Since we couldn't figure out what was causing it, we've tried several different things to get her to sleep more quietly at night. The problem is not that she is not a good sleeper - she is, to the extent that I would expect at seven weeks. She usually wakes up twice a night to eat. So the issue is not hers, it's ours. The grunting certainly doesn't seem to be bothering her. Just us.

When I explain to people what she does, they just nod their head knowingly. But they don't know. They really don't. This isn't the occasional little squeak, or a poop grunt. There have been nights where it's gone on for hours on end. Grunt. Gruuuuunt. Squiiiick. GRRRRRRRRUNT.

So, after several weeks of trial and error, we headed up to Triad #2's house for the Fourth of July weekend. And wouldn't you know it? She didn't make a grunty peep for three nights. She also slept for eight hours straight one night, and six hours another.

Why? How? We were on a quest. When we got home on Sunday, we began trying to recreate the environment she slept in those three days. Aha! We finally figured it must be the fan. My sister has an oscillating fan in her bedroom. The white noise must have soothed Ava or something. So I went in search of the exact same fan that my sister has. Of course, I couldn't find it but bought a similar one at Target. We tried it Sunday night. There was grunting. Not full out, all night long grunting, but still. We tried it again the next night, and it was worse. We despaired and figured that we might have to move in with Triad #2 and her magical fan. But we persevered. Last night I ventured off to the dreaded Wal Mart in search of a louder fan. (This trip to Wal Mart reminded me why I have not set foot in a Wal Mart in years.) I bought a bigger fan and came home with high hopes.

Drum roll...

There was no grunting last night! And...Ava slept from 10:30 until 5am, then went back down until 8:30! This was major for me, since I don't sleep in the Bose noise cancelling headphones when she grunts (like someone who shall remain nameless does) and so I normally hear Every. Little. Noise.

I wonder if it was a just a coincidence or if we have finally stumbled upon the way to a peaceful night for all?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ava's Birth Story

Friday, May 16: My last day of work before starting my maternity leave. That evening, I began having painful contractions. I was used to having contractions; I had had them since I was 25 weeks, thanks to an irritable uterus. But since starting to wean off the terbutaline that I was on (for the irritable uterus), they were starting to get more frequent. After a couple of hours though, they toned down. No baby tonight.

Sunday, May 18: Took my last dose of terbutaline around 2pm; I had completely weaned off of it over the course of a week. I was looking forward to a few days of pre-baby maternity leave to relax, finish getting the nursery ready, run errands and enjoy a relaxing prenatal massage. Ava had other plans.

Monday, May 19:

3pm: Went to my prenatal massage. I notice a few contractions during the massage, but I figure they were due to being in one of those pregnancy massage pillow things that allow you to (sort of) lay on your stomach, which I didn't really like. I didn't think much of them since I was so used to having contractions, but on the drive home, they kept coming.

5pm: Start timing contractions and they are 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute each. This gets my attention, but at this point, I'm still not sure whether or not I was actually in labor, or if this was just an effect of weaning off the terbutaline.

7pm: Decide to eat some chili and jalapeno cornbread. I am eternally grateful that this did not come back to bite me in the ass during the pushing phase, if you get my drift.

8:30pm: Contractions are now four minutes apart and are starting to make my toes curl. Still not sure whether or not I'm actually in labor, I call the on call doctor. I didn't want to get to the hospital too early and end up getting the pitocin sales pitch. He said to go on in and get checked. I finish overpacking my 400 pound hospital bag and we head to the hospital.

9pm: L&D is kind of creepy at night. I wait to get into a triage room.

9:30: In the triage room. Get hooked up to monitors, which is kind of a pain since I have to pee every five minutes. I'm 2cm, 100% effaced. The nurse said that she would check me in an hour and if I hadn't progressed, they would send me home with some Ambien. Ambien. At this point I asked her if she smoked crack every day, or if this was a special occasion.

11pm: Still 2cm. Frick. BUT, since my contractions were now 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart, they decided to admit me. Score one for the pregnant chick!

12am: Got in our room. Walked a few laps to try to progress to the point of being able to have my epidural, thankyouverymuch. (I had brief fantasies of a drug free birth, but I'm convinced that if you go into it with the least bit of indecisiveness, you will be all about that epidural before you can say "transition".) Came back to the room and asked for some Nubane, please.

1:00am: Floated in a Nubane haze, where I would sleep in between contractions. It would feel like I had been asleep for half an hour and when I would look at the clock, it had been two minutes. The Nubane didn't really help my contractions, but it was lovely just the same. I buzzed the nurse and asked for the rest of my dose of Nubane. As she was getting it, my water broke. Scared the bejeezus out of me and I jumped about ten feet.

1:05am: I'm now 4cm. Woo hoo! The nurse asked me if I wanted my epidural now. Woo hoo again!

1:20am: Anestheseologist arrives. Now that's service. He has the bedside manner of a summer squash, but he also has the goods so I flash my most dazzling smile and ask him to please put a needle in my back, pronto. They make M leave the room, which I thought was weird, but he needed to run back to the house and get his stuff to stay overnight anyway.

1:30am: Getting the epidural. It's not nearly as bad as I thought. This guy knows his shit.

1:45am: Epidurals are awesome. I'm getting everyone one for Christmas.

2:30am: The nurse checks me again, and I'm now eight centimeters. Holy crap. M needs to get back here soon.

2:45am: M gets back. Whew. Fall asleep.

4:15am: I'm ten centimeters. Time to push. They get me into place and I realize that I cannot tell if I am pushing or not. I try to follow the nurse's instructions, and push like I have to poop. I am so lucky that the chili did not make a second appearance.

4:45am: Still pushing. Try a new position.

5:15am: Yep, it's me. Still pushing. Trying yet another position. Ava would descend down and then go back up. The contractions start to slow down. Now they are around five minutes apart. What the hell?

5:45am: We discuss pitocin since my contractions are getting further apart. Decide to wait on the pitocin and I keep pushing.

6:15am: Around this time, things start to pick up. The doctor comes in and and tells me what a good job I am doing and how it's just "a few more pushes". Naively, I believe him, even though that's what they have to tell you to keep you from completely losing it. I suspect the epidural has been turned down at this point to help me push, because the pressure is the most intense thing I have ever felt.

6:30am: Doc comes back in, tells me "just a few more pushes". Again, for some reason I believe him. I think something happens to you when you are in labor that makes you believe any kind of crap people tell you because your body needs you to stay motivated. M accidentally sees more than he bargained for. He figures that since he's already seen it, he might as well keep looking. I think I'm glad one of us got to see the show. When the nurse mentioned getting a mirror when I started pushing, I thought she was insane, but now I kind of wish that I had had one. I think M might have been scarred by the sight though.

6:40am: There is some yelling. And some more yelling. People can hear me down the hall, I'm sure. Thankfully, there is no cursing. People are scurrying around getting ready. I lose my shit for about five seconds, and then I pull it together and realize the only way to relieve this insane pressure is to keep pushing.

6:45am: Ava makes her debut! She has the longest conehead I have ever seen (I guess that's what 2 1/2 hours of pushing will do) and is completely gorgeous. She weighed seven pounds, five ounces and was 19 inches long, and had a headful of hair.

I'm in love.